#Change11 On blogging in MOOC

I read Jenny’s post on the selfish blogger with great interests. 

First, I doubt if there is a selfish blog syndrome.
1. This is a judgement on bloggers, based on assumptions about bloggers’ intention and behaviour.  No one blogger could be judged as selfish, unless he/she purposely hide all his/her sharing, as selfish is defined as acting or done according to one’s own interests and needs without regard for those of others, keeping good things for oneself and not sharing.  If a blogger is really that selfish, would he/she has posted or shared the posts publicly?  Rather, to me, bloggers could be altruistic in sharing, especially with the public, though I couldn’t claim this to be always true, as there are lots of “wicked” bloggers too, spreading the “wrong messages – based on false, biased information, or for advertising spams, or spreading trojans and virus”.  It really depends on the objective and intention of the blogger.
2. We posted on blogs for all sorts of reasons, like what Jenny has said, as a reflection tool.  For me, I used it mainly for reflection, but also for conversation (for myself and others).  Sometimes this could be perceived as self-promotion, but often, this is the initiation of a conversation. Before I joined CCK08, I have been using various media to connect and “play around” with the tools on the networks, webs, and internet.  Blogging to me opened up new opportunities to share my understanding and perceptions about others, the community and the world.  It is the “reciprocity” of sharing, through conversation, commenting, or debate that lead to deep learning and critical thinking (via appreciative inquiry) in action, with others.  However there are both intelligent and dark sides of blogging, as I have reflected here.
3. Is it necessary to integrate all these conversation on blogs in MOOC?  I would argue that it depends on the situation.  I have shared ways to doing so in my blog post, and also this could be solved using PLE.  However, conversation needs to be meaningful and valuable for the people concerned, as Jenny and Matthias have researched on online resonance.  The signal to noise, and the distraction associated with too much blog conversation over a diverse set of blogs is not helpful to deep learning, at least to me.   I think blog posting is already an integration of thoughts and reflection of all those different tip-bits coming from recordings, readings, blog postings and comments (i.e. the learning objects and artifacts that I could aggregate, re-mix, and re-purpose, or re-create).  This suggested practice (by Stephen) is already inherent in my practice for years (especially since CCK08).  It is re-stated in a prescriptive manner.
4. I still believe that learning is a personal and private “business”, especially in blogging.  Autonomy is most important, for those self-paced, self-organised learners.  I am one of them, as I did “distance education” all by myself, in the past, even in the pre-internet era, and I still enjoyed it.  I wrote a lot of personal diaries, journals, but haven’t got a chance to write on blogs before the late 90s.  I did try the earliest versions – like Geocity, Frontpage Web Design, etc. in designing web pages, where I could post artifacts on the web page. If I were to choose, I still like to learn most of the “things” myself, though I understand the importance of community and COPs.   In the academic and business world, if I were to work as a consultant, or a scholar, then that may be most important, as you can’t get a consultant’s job without a client, or a teacher’s job without students, or “clients”.  So, blogging is another way to demonstrate that capability, and capacity to network with others in the community.
5.  As I have learnt from Jenny, it is a matter of asking whether a certain topic or question is really helpful, especially when relating to this debate on Selfish Blog syndrome.  I think facilitation in MOOC is more than just integrating the conversation, more than the PLE/PLN approach, and more than the COPs.  It is self-organising. Tony may be right, from a “formal facilitator” point of view, on the fragmented and chaotic nature of information distribution, and failure to aggregate them, in the conversation.  But, this is a reality in learning via Internet, web spaces.
6. What may be a challenge for most teachers and instructors trained under the instructivist approach in MOOC is: Facilitation may still be based on a Constructivist approach, where Peer-facilitation-learning etc. may align more with a Connectivist approach.  In MOOC, where people would choose how, who and what they learn, facilitation may only work if the learners perceive it to have added value to their learning.  This is based on the assumption that learners are interested in MOOC learning, otherwise, they would prefer to the structured learning in typical online course.
7. I don’t see many educators are blogging, and so MOOC may not be that suitable for “them” as yet.  Rather, I noted that there are many “colleagues”, who for many good reasons need to promote the educational values of their formal HE institutions, or COPs and so they have adopted a totally different approach towards connection with MOOC.  This could be based on e-mentoring, e-coaching (the hot favourites) approach to facilitation and teaching.   This is of great value to the colleagues and institutions, as a best practice.  Blogging could be used for such e-Coaching & Mentoring, but I am not that sure if it is too much like the “apprenticeship program”.  Is it useful in MOOC? Time will tell.
8. When blogging, it would be wise to critique and debate about issues on education, and to ask questions which may generate positive “solutions” to problems, including “wicked problems”.  At this stage, I don’t think I have more to say than the ones posted here.
9. I think blogging has helped me in my learning.  I only shared my blog with my students (and of course MOOC, and the “world”).  Am I selfish in sharing? I don’t think so.  I like volunteering work.  I could share in private space too, in email, or in private wiki.  I have posted many private blog posts, and so that is who I am, as an identity in this virtual space.
10. Finally, I found myself more happier in expressing my “instant” thoughts and reflection in blogging and research, on top of writing research papers.  I would like to try writing more research papers, as that is more satisfying and rewarding too.
11. How about your views?  I hope this would lead to more learning, sharing and conversation on this important topic about blogging in MOOC.
Picture: Google image


#Change11 Connectivism and Constructivism – similarities and differences Part 2

I found Jenny’s post thought provoking, and so this is a follow up post on my previous one relating to Connectivism & Constructivism – What’s similar and different.

Referring again to the diagram here.

How learning occurs:

What may happen is that social, meaning created by each learner (personal) could actually happen in a distributed network.  However, social doesn’t necessarily mean it would be within a virtual or digital space, or network, as it could happen in a space that once conceived to be navigation across networks.

I have reflected in my Intelligent and Dark side of Blogging, that:

Also, in networked learning, “it is not just what we learn, but how we feel about what we learn, which counts in the long term.” So is dancing as a metaphor. It’s the feeling of learning which makes a difference from the traditional education and learning, where group learning is believed to be based on a scientific approach, and individual feelings need to be constrained to avoid intervening the group’s performance.

So, it is important to encourage a dynamic between thinking and feeling in order to promote learning more effectively, rather than focusing on critical thinking alone, especially in networked learning.

“Learning is an interactive experience best achieved in a climate of relatedness, care and mutual respect. Such care is offered, not imposed, and respects humans’ need for autonomy, self-determination, and challenge as well as security” Rosyln Arnold (2005) (pg 28). This could be crucial to networked learning, especially where humans are interacting with each others in communities of practice. However, there are still paradoxes in between autonomy, diversity, openness and interactivity when educators and learners are immersed in a complex, emergent learning environment (MOOC).

It would be important to reflect on assumptions behind connectivist learning. Some questions include:
1. How could learning be best achieved under a connectivist environment?
2. What are the pre-requisite literacies and skills for educators and learners to consider in networked learning?

I suppose meaning created by each learner (under Constructivism or Social Constructivism) does assume the recognition and interpretation of networks.

I suppose there are overlaps in the Constructivism and Connectivism approaches

In this Beyond constructivism: navigationism in the knowledge era:

Teachers and educators should become the source of how to navigate in the ocean of available information and knowledge. We should become coaches and mentors within the knowledge era. Instructional designers should start to design coaching and navigating activities instead of designing learning facilitation and learning activities; to configure navigation tools instead of the re-configuration of content.

Here is a video on Youtube:

I think this shows that a shift in the frame of reference would change the way we perceive an object’s appearance.  Similarly, the recognition and interpretation of the patterns as shown in this simple experiment well illustrates how a shift from Social to Network frame of reference (with neuro, conceptual and social) could make a difference.

Relating to Jenny’ example:

A constructivist approach involved challenging this deeply set misconception through physically demonstrating that heavy objects do not reach the ground before light objects. I believed that the physical demonstration had the effect of deconstructing the student’s existing thinking and reconstructing it or replacing it with the correct thinking.

How would a connectivist approach work? Yes, you still require the deconstruction of the student’s existing thinking, but not just based on the teacher’s input.  Rather, you would suggest the students to be immersed in networks, based on navigating activities and the using of appropriate tools or media (i.e. media and technology affordance), in exploring about the “right” and “wrong” concepts, and discerning those right from wrong through navigation tools and reflective thinking.  This is similar to what I have suggested here:

The concepts that are crystallised through such networked learning may be based on the ability of the learner to recognise and interpret the pattern (i.e. principally on the navigation and exploration, with or without the teachers), rather than the demonstration of the teacher and explanation of the concepts via “Constructivism or Social Constructivism”.  This means that the concept development under Connectivism is far more reaching than the typical “classroom” or social networks environment, but would also include technological and media enhancement for its nourishment.

This approach may take the form of Create, Interact and Track as discussed in CCK11.

Picture credit: CCK11

Picture: Garrison, Anderson, & Archer (2001)  Elements of an educational experience.

How would Connectivism and Constructivism differ in terms of the elements of educational experience?

Would explore this in Part 3.